Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Art of Negotiation

Healthcare reform long ago took on the semblance of a three-ring circus. It seems that the crazy mudslinging (see: death panels, socialism, death of insurance, etc) has become nothing more than a tool in a war of attrition. Whereas Democrats are asking above and beyond what they actually expect to be in a bill, Republicans are shooting these plans down out-of-hand, generally without any sort of counter-proposal. I guess it should be that surprising, because American politics have long lived by the motto "I don't have an idea, I just know your idea is stupid". That somehow passes for rational democracy here.

It reminds me very much of John Lithgow's Bud Brumder character from the immensely underrated film "Orange County". While negotiating an endowment for a new athletic facility at Stanford, Brumber offers this advice:

"No, no, that's not how this works. You give me your offer and I counter with some ridiculous lowball offer, say $1,000 for a medicine ball."

There is your Republican strategy.